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Torpedoes - too heavy, too expensive and secondhand.



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MEDIA ALERT

Senator Chris Evans Labor Senator for Western Australia Shadow Minister for Defence

11 July 2002

TORPEDOES - TOO HEAVY, TOO EXPENSIVE AND SECONDHAND

The Howard Government abandoned normal tendering processes in its rush to buy US torpedoes for the Collins Class submarine, only to find that they are too heavy and will blow out the budget.

Instead of buying a torpedo that would suit the Collins Class, the Government is going to modify the Collins Class to suit the US torpedo.

The torpedoes we are buying are no longer being manufactured by the US, which is beginning the development of a new torpedo. We are spending more than $450 million buying second hand US torpedoes.

This is another bungled decision following hard on the heels of the Seasprite fiasco.

The Howard Government has thrown away due process for a project that is likely to end up costing the taxpayer more than $450 million.

If the US torpedo was the best one on offer then it should have won the tender process in competition against the two alternative bids.

The rationale for this decision, a close alliance with the US on submarines, ignores the fact that the US also cooperates with NATO countries that do not use US torpedoes.

The Government stopped the normal tender process for the new torpedoes in July last year, opting to go with a US built torpedo before evaluating its suitability.

A year after making that decision the Government has still not completed an ‘integration study’ which is attempting to work out how to fit the heavier torpedo into the Collins Class.

The original budget for the project was $200 - $260 million, which should have covered the acquisition of the necessary replacement torpedoes.

The Department of Defence has now admitted that $260 million will be spent on just modifying the submarines and a small supply of torpedoes. The Government is going to have to spend at least another $200 million to get the stocks of torpedoes it needs, doubling the cost of the project.

For information: Chris Evans 0419 983 593 Tim Friedrich 0408 577 617